Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hainanese Taste

Hainanese and Teochew seem to have good affinity. And I speak from experience. On the same road as Teow Chew Meng on Jalan SS2/30 in PJ, just several shops away, there is this makan shop that serves Hainanese fare.

I have been to this place many times - mainly for breakfasts. It is a simple restaurant with a very pleasant ambiance. It has a nice contemporary Chinese setting with marble tables and stools, and traditional Chinese wall decorations.  Like its Teochew counterpart, I notice that the restaurant attracts the more mature customers.

The kitchen at the back is open and you can see your meal being cooked. It is reasonably clean and is staffed by a number of foreign young men.

The restaurant boasts "The Original Mee Pok" on a signboard. Mee pok (面薄) is a flat noodle that is normally eaten dry - kon-lo (捞). According to a Wikipedia write-up, it is Teochew in origin. It is more popular in Singapore with the bigger Teochew population there. How a Hainanese makan place can boast of original (Teochew) mee pok, beats me. Perhaps it is the part of this affinity that I mentioned.

Whatever the origin, I find the mee pok here quite nice. When you order the mee pok, you have the choice whether to have chilli sauce in your noodles. It is quite unusual for kon-lo noodles (面) to be eaten with chilli sauce in Malaysia. It is a more popular practice in Singapore. The noodle is served with minced pork and a generous dose of the tasty, crunchy and sinful chu yaw char. It also comes with a bowl of soup with some fish balls and slices of fish cake in it.

They also serve mee pok in soup, but I prefer the kon-lo preparation.

The fried chee cheong fun (猪肠粉) is rather unique. This is the first place I know that serves fried CCF. And why not? CCF is really very much like koay teow. If koay teow is so popularly fried, why not CCF? The CCF here is fried like char koay teow with taugeh, chives, egg, etc. Looks like char koay teow and tastes like char koay teow.

The yam cake - woo tau kou (芋頭糕) is quite good. It is home made. It is soft and has the full flavour of yam.

The restaurant serves a variety of fried fish stuffs. They have fish cakes (), fish stuffed fu chuk () , fish stuffed sui kow (水饺), fish stuffed spring roll (春卷), etc. You can order them individually or a combo plate of the mixed fish stuffs. They are quite good. I enjoy them.

They also have meat dumpling - kao ji (餃子) in Cantonese or gyoza in Japanese - served with the usual ginger strips in black vinegar. I am no big fan of this meat dumpling. I guess the ones they serve here are OK.

A variety of Chinese desserts or tong sui (糖水) such as red bean, barley fu chuk, tau fu fah, black pulut, etc, are available here. A list of the local favorites is on a big signboard. Below the signboard is the slogan in Chinese that translates to read - "We don't want to be the biggest, but the best".
The various food they serve here are highly doubtful to be Hainanese in origin. Even the tea which they call and claim as Hainanese tea is doubtful because I have seen it in some mamak shops. But the tea is very good. I always go for it when I am there. It comes in a glass, with a clear demarcation between the tea and the milk, and a foam on top. It is kinda like Irish coffee - you are not sure if you should stir to mix it up.

Hainanese or not, I find the food in Hainanese Taste good and worth going back again and again.

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